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Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
I am happy, relieved, exhaustively excited to announce that I have finished the last set of bellwork for Geometry! It is a combination unit on Similarity, Special Lines and Triangle Inequalities. I combined the three together because a) none of them are really long enough to stand on their own and b) I teach them all as one unit!
Additionally, I am pleased to tell you that I have bundled my bellwork into a first semester MONEY SAVING bundle and a second semester MONEY SAVING bundle as well as an entire year bundle! Each unit in each bundle includes a full - color powerpoint, a teacher answer key, each day double printed so that you can hand them out as exit cards if you wish and a weekly student answer sheet!
I love using bellwork (bellringers or do-nows as my students call them) because not only does it help to settle a class, but it is also a great way to review previous concepts, assess where students are having difficulty and to get students up to the board! You can read more about my love of bellwork here
Sunday, February 22, 2015
There was a time when Geometry was seen as the stand alone class in the math family tree. When I was in high school, you could take Geometry in 10th grade or 11th, before or after Algebra II. Basically you took it where ever and whenever it best fit in to your schedule. Geometry at time was all about shapes, angles and proofs. There was little to no Algebra used and the little that you did need, you could sort of fake it. Not anymore. Now Geometry is Algebra based. With the advent of constantly changing standards and continually changing standardized testing each math class is now a continuation of the previous one, often relying heavily on mastery of the previous one to be successful in the next.
When I start a new school year in Geometry I spend the first day or two reviewing how to set-up and solve linear equations. Why you may ask? Simple. Every new concept that we do from solving for parts of segments and angles all the way through surface area and volume, can and will, involve finding the value of a missing variable. This is done more often than not through a linear equation, usually in one variable to the first power. In regards to solving equations, we even use them as the basis for our proof structure. When I begin to introduce how to write a proof, I don't start with Geometric proofs, I start with Algebraic. I ask my students to solve multi-step linear equations and to tell me what they did in each step. This not only gets them used to the structure, but also reinforces why they do what they do when solving a linear equation.
As we move further on into the school year even more concepts from Algebra begin to pop up. One of the most prevalent is the use of the Cartesian Coordinate Plane. We first encounter it when we are finding the length (distance) of a segment. We graph the two endpoints and use the Distance and Midpoint formulas to find how long the segment is and where the halfway point is. Since this is more of a review, then a new concept however, I teach it using Task Cards for the students to practice versus spending a day on it like it is a new lesson. We continue using the coordinate plane and Algebraic Concepts when we graph triangles and quadrilaterals and use the distance, midpoint and slope formulas to classify our shapes. The last time that we explicitly use the coordinate plane is in our unit on Transformations when we graph our figures and reflect, translate, rotate and dilate them using coordinates.
The other major Algebraic concept that use consistently is square roots and radicals. We first encounter them when we solve the distance formula but at point it is a pretty basic use. Once, however, we hit our unit on Right Triangles and Trigonometry, squares roots stick with us for the rest of the school year. We use them to solve our right triangles and to find missing pieces of quadrilaterals. We also use them when finding the tangent, radii and diameter lines for circles and the surface area and volume of three dimensional figures.For these reasons, and so many more, I stress mastery of concepts, not just retention of them for a test in my Algebra class. I am honest with my students and I tell them that this ideas will not "go away" once Algebra is done. They will use them again in Algebra II and then will take Algebra I and II skills with them as they move into Geometry. Additionally, we talk extensively about which of these skills will be useful in the workforce and why. I try to be as transparent as possible with my students and normally it works in my favor. What Algebra skills have you seen move beyond Algebra?
Monday, February 9, 2015
The second installment of the Secondary Teacher Collaboration books are here and they look fantastic! Lindsay Perro has done an amazing job of compiling one - page informational insights into the sellers and one page freebies from over 20 secondary math sellers! Each informational page tells you a little about the seller, some of their favorite resources and things that they cannot live without! Each one page freebie is ready to print and use! You can download the math book here:
I have added my freebie from the book to my store and I have included an answer key as well! You can download it here:
Thursday, February 5, 2015
Teaching Algebra is not always in my comfort zone. After so many years of teaching Geometry, where my students have completed two years of Algebra before getting to me, I am used to reviewing and/or just applying the topics - not actually teaching them from scratch. Over the past few years I have gotten better, but I still don't feel as creative as I would like. In particular, my students are really struggle with writing the equations of lines from different sources. I am struggle to make it more interesting and engaging. Enter TpT and all of the wonderful resources on there! Mrs. E gave me a copy of her Writing Equations of Lines Station Maze to try with them and it went fantastically!
This activity was a great way to not only get the students up and moving, but also was great for getting the students to talk to each other! I am very big on math talk in the classroom and cooperative learning. I started by posting the nine stations around the room in random order. I paired off the students as they came in instead of letting them chose their own partners. I liked that I was able to give each pair of students a different starting point since the cards do not have to be done in order. This helped with congestion and also allowed me to keep students apart that are a little too talkative.
I also loved the fact that when the students found an answer it sent them to a different station but if they got sent backwards to someplace they had already been, they knew they need to go back and check their previous work to see where they got off track. In this way, it really was a maze! I also liked the fact that there were four possible answers and if they got something was not on the card, then they knew they needed to recheck their work. In multiple ways this activity was really self-checking.
I encourage you to visit Mrs. E Teaches Math and pick up a copy for yourself. Not only will your students be engaged, but you will be able to identify common misconceptions quickly!